Margaret Foley (American, 1827-1877) marble bust "Head of Prophet Zephaniah"
A rare and important marble bust head relief portrait on The Prophet Zephaniah, skillfully sculpted by American female artist Margaret Foley, in Rome, Italy, 1865.
In original elaborate carved giltwood oval frame. Signed and dated at left below bust: "M.F. FOLEY. F. IN ROMA 1865"
Frame size: 36" high x 31" wide x 5" deep
Marble size: 29.5" high x 24.5" wide
There is an identical one in the Brooklyn Museum of Art with a later date of 1868 described as "Head of Prophet Zephaniah", Large oval medallion with relief portrait bust of elderly man in profile facing right, has long beard and long, wavy hair, wears robe over shoulder; The present example being offered here is slightly earlier (1865).
Very good condition to the marble. Frame has normal wear, cracks, consistent with age and use.
Zephaniah is the name of several people in the Hebrew Bible and Jewish Tanakh; the most prominent one being the prophet who prophesied in the days of Josiah, king of Judah and is attributed a book bearing his name among the Twelve Minor Prophets. His name is commonly transliterated Sophonias in Bibles translated from the Vulgate or Septuagint.
In Christianity he is commemorated with the other minor prophets in the calendar of saints of the Armenian Apostolic Church on July 31. On the Eastern Orthodox liturgical calendar and in the Roman Martyrology, he is commemorated on December 3.
His book is an inspiration for the hymn, Dies irae.
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